François Daulte will include this drawing in the forthcoming volume VI (Pastels, aquarelles et dessins) of his Renoir catalogue raisonné.
In the summer or autumn of 1882, Renoir embarked upon his last ambitious explorations of the subject of urban and suburban recreation, a group of pictures depicting dancing couples. By the spring of the following year, he had finished three canvases on this theme, each virtually life-size: a matching pair of paintings entitled La danse à la ville and La danse à la campagne, both now hanging in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris; and an independent third version traditionally known as La danse à Bougival (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). The present drawing is closely related to the Musée d'Orsay oil of the same name; dated 1883 by Ambroise Vollard and François Daulte, it was probably executed after the painting's completion, not as a preliminary study for it.
Although Renoir used the same male model, Paul Lhote, for both La danse à la ville and La danse à la campagne, he chose decidedly different female prototypes for each: the elegant Suzanne Valadon to represent la ville and the robust Aline Charigot to represent la campagne. Occasionally called Panneaux de la danse: L'hiver and L'été, the two works were clearly intended to suggest the difference for the bourgeois Parisian male between the urban rituals of the social season and the suburban diversions of the summer. Especially notable about La danse à la campagne is its feeling of cheerful, almost impulsive, informality, a mood which is heightened in the drawing by the spontaneity of its medium and by the intimacy of its scale.